Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 25-July 1: We Are Transformers

In Theaters.

This is an easy week. There is one new art title opening — and it’s a good one — but mostly this is a week devoted to giant robots punching the crap out of each other. If you’re not into that and rampant property damage and bone-rattling noise, this is probably not your week.




There were supposed to be two art titles this week, but one of them has been at least pushed back to next Friday. (An underwhelmed group of critics at the press screening may or may not have had bearing on this.) Anyway, as it stands, what we get is the charming Swedish comedy We Are the Best!, a lovably shaggy story about a pair of 13-year-old girls who — with the help of another girl who can actually play an instrument — decide to form a punk rock band in 1982. It’s slight, yes, but it captures early adolescence better than just about any film I can think of — and better yet it does so without editorializing or condescending. It’s also your only new movie antidote to the onslaught of Rock-em-Sock-em Autobots, and it opens Friday at The Carolina.




Otherwise … it’s Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction (extinction for this series would suit me fine) — 165 minutes worth. And it’s everywhere you look. (I don’t know yet if Carmike or Beaucatcher won the coin toss on this one.) And there seems to be an ungodly amount of it, too. It’s sucking up four screens at The Carolina. Personally, I think that’s overkill, but I’m the guy who in 2007 said, “Nobody’s going to come see a movie based on a line of toys.” (And having seen the first three, I still don’t understand why anyone does.) The idea, I guess, is that you can pretty much always find a showing that fits your schedule. Near as I can tell, this is something of a reboot that replaces all the nominally human characters from the original trilogy with new ones. So instead of Shia LaBeouf, you get Mark Wahlberg playing second fiddle to these metal monsters. I know there’s an audience for this, but I’m not part of it. You know if you are.

This week we lose The Rover (no surprise there), Belle and Words and Pictures (the last two I feel were prematurely sacrificed on the altar of Transformers, but that’s just my opinion.), Everything else art-wise is status quo.

Special Screenings




This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is running Michel Soavi’s Cemetery Man (1994) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 26 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved from Drowning (1931) on Friday, June 27 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is presenting Robert Altman’s Gosford Park (2001) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 29 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society kicks off its July calendar with their annual Ken Russell birthday movie — this year it’s Russell’s Billion Dollar Brain (1967) on Tuesday, July 1 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress with complete reviews in the online edition.


The only new release of note this week is Enemy, which will hopefully find more ready interest on DVD than it did at the theater.

Notable TV Screenings

 If you spot anything out of the ordinary on TCM, you’re doing better than I am.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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20 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 25-July 1: We Are Transformers

  1. Steven

    I’m not sure if it’s the best film I’ve seen this year (Ida and Budapest are the top contenders), but We Are the Best! is probably the most pleasing theater experience I’ve had this year. Can’t recall the last time I was so impressed with child performances.

    Hope it does well here.

  2. Ken Hanke

    I don’t dislike Ida, but it’s not even an also-ran for year’s best with me.

  3. Ken Hanke

    Life Itself opens on July 18 at The Carolina. Oblivious Child (a film for people who like Lena Dunham) got moved to next Friday (7/4).

  4. Edwin Arnaudin

    Oblivious Child (a film for people who like Lena Dunham)

    Not this person who likes Lena Dunham.

    • Ken Hanke

      I wasn’t going to spread your guilt in public. That woman is the most obnoxious, unfunny, untalented creature I’ve ever seen.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        I don’t mind if you distance yourself from me on this matter.

        “Who? Never heard of the guy.”

  5. Edwin Arnaudin

    Gambit, written but not directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, and Stanley Tucci, is also now on Netflix.

  6. Me

    Ive heard Life Itself will be showing on CNN and possibly PBS in late summer.

  7. Ken Hanke

    I’ll have seen it by then. And from whom did you hear that?

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      I contributed to the Life Itself Indiegogo campaign and got to stream it in HD as it was premiering at Sundance. It’s a winner and not the hagiography I feared it would be.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      Not that I recall. James is pretty selective in what he covers about Ebert’s life and there are some unexpected inclusions, but I’m pretty sure that’s not one of them.

  8. Me

    “If you spot anything out of the ordinary on TCM, you’re doing better than I am.”

    TCM is playing Pretty Maids All In A Row, I’ve been curious to see it since it showed up on Tarantino’s favorite films list a couple years ago, also it was written by Gene Roddenberry and I don’t think its available to rent anywhere.

  9. Chip Kaufmann

    PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW was released on DVD-R a few years ago. Locally it’s available at Orbit DVD in W. Asheville.

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